SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Sacramento State (18-13) makes the short trip through the Sierra for a contest at Nevada (15-14) at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Reno. The Hornets beat the Wolf Pack 5-2 when the teams met at Raley Field earlier this season.
- Sacramento State recorded consecutive series sweeps to open WAC play for the third straight season and the Hornets are currently just one game back of first place in the WAC standings
- Sophomore outfielder Andrew McWilliam is 13-of-26 (.500) with 9 RBIs and 8 runs scored over the last seven games. In the stretch he has a hit in each game, a run in six games, and an RBI in five.
- The Hornets lead the WAC and are tied for 44th in the nation with 46 stolen bases this year. Andrew McWilliam tied the program record with four stolen bases April 3 against Northern Colorado.
- In WAC play the Hornet bullpen has a 1.99 ERA, a 0.81 WHIP, and a .169 opposing batting average over 22.2 innings. Closer Tyler Beardsley has a 0.39 ERA with six saves and four wins this year.
- Sacramento State beat Nevada 5-2 at Raley Field in March and will be facing the same starting pitcher on Tuesday. The Wolf Pack have won eight of their last 10 games and are 6-4 at home.
SAC - Tanner Olson (Jr./RHP, 1-3, 5.06 ERA)
NEV - Zach Wilkins (Sr./RHP, 3-2, 6.30 ERA)
Tuesday's game will stream live on HornetSports.com/Radio with Anthony Rifenburg on the play-by-play call. Nevada will also provide video and live stats on nevadawolfpack.com and linked above. All game day media links can always be found on the baseball schedule page on hornetsports.com. For more content and game updates follow @hornetsports and @SacStBaseball on twitter and like Sacramento State Athletics and Sacramento State Hornet Baseball Fans on facebook.
Nevada Wolf Pack | Overall: 15-14 | MWC: 6-4 | Home: 6-4
Sacramento State beat Nevada 5-2 at Raley Field on March 9. Vinny Esposito was 2-for-3 with 2 runs scored and six Hornet pitchers allowed just five singles. The Wolf Pack will be starting the same pitcher, Zach Wilkins, on Tuesday. Nevada, which has won eight of its last 10 games, ranks 8th in Div. I with 15 triples this year and also leads the Mountain West with a .977 fielding percentage. The Wolf Pack have four starters hitting better than .300 and are hitting .285 as a team on the season. Sacramento State is 27-53 all-time against their former WAC foe and have a 4-3 edge since Nevada left the WAC following the 2012 season.
Sophomore outfielder Andrew McWilliam is hitting .500 (13-for-26) with 9 RBIs and 8 runs scored over the last seven games. He has a hit in each game, a home run, and three doubles in the stretch with runs scored in six of the seven games and RBIs in five of them. He tied the program record with four stolen bases against Northern Colorado then recorded Sacramento State's first four-hit game of the year going 4-for-5 with a homer and 3 RBIs last Tuesday at Fresno State. For the season he leads the team with 18 runs scored and nine stolen bases is tied for the team lead with 17 RBIs. He also leads with 10 multi-hit games and four multi-RBI games and has a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage with an outfield assist.
Sacramento State recorded consecutive series sweeps to open WAC play for the third straight season. The Hornets opened conference play with a sweep of North Dakota and followed with a sweep of Northern Colorado at John Smith Field. Despite dropping the series at CSU Bakersfield the Hornets are still averaging 4.2 runs per game in league play with a 2.67 team ERA. The Hornets are just one game back of league-leading Seattle U and New Mexico State in the current WAC standings.
The Hornets are averaging 5.0 runs per game and hitting .280 over their last seven contests. The team has tallied 19 extra-base hits in the stretch, including three home runs, with a .397 slugging percentage. The squad has 15 steals in the seven games while Andrew McWilliam is hitting .500 and Chris Lewis is hitting .379 with both tallying three doubles and a home run.
Sacramento State leads the WAC and is tied for 44th in the nation with 46 stolen bases this year. The Hornets were 10-for-11 in stolen base attempts against Northern Colorado, 9-for-9 in its season-opening series win at Auburn, and has at least one steal in 22 games this year with multiple steals in 10 games. Sacramento State finished second in the WAC with 79 stolen bases last season.
The Pen is Mighty
The Hornet bullpen has been strong all season and especially so in WAC play. The back end of the bullpen - junior Chad Perry and senior closer Tyler Beardsley - have both thrown 7.2 scoreless innings in WAC play, combining to allow only 9 hits and 2 walks with 18 strikeouts over 15.1 innings. Jonny Palsha has also thrown 2.2 scoreless relief innings in league play and as a whole the Hornet bullpen has a 1.99 ERA, a 0.81 WHIP, and a .169 opposing batting average over 22.2 innings of relief in nine WAC games.
Putting the H in DH
Freshman designated hitter Matt Smith has a hit in 23 of the first 25 games he has played in his collegiate career. He opened the season with a 16-game hitting streak, the longest in the WAC this season, and he also has an RBI in 14 contests this year. He missed a week and a half after getting hit by a pitch March 6 but is still tied for the team lead with 17 RBIs on the season. A local product from Placerville, Smith leads the team hitting .340 this year with a .396 on-base percentage and seven multi-hit games.
Curtains After Seven
Sacramento State is undefeated this season when leading after the seventh inning. The team is 12-0 when leading after seven innings and has just one loss this year when leading through four. The team is 14-0 when leading after eight and is 3-0 in extra innings.
The Hornets finished 9-4 on their 13 game homestand over 19 days. The homestand was the longest in the Div. I era of the program, eclipsing a 10-game home stretch in 2005. The Hornets had WAC series sweeps of North Dakota and Northern Colorado and single wins over Cal Poly, San Francisco, and William Jessup while also hosting New Mexico for two games. The homestand was originally going to be 12 games before the William Jessup game was added. The squad is now in a stretch of 13 of 17 games on the road.
Sacramento State was 8-0 this year in 1-run games before dropping its last two 1-run decisions. A strong back end of the bullpen and timely hitting have made the Hornets nearly unbeatable in close games, especially on their home field. Of the team's 11 home wins this year are five 1-run victories with two walk-off wins.
Hornet senior Tyler Beardsley has not only taken over the job of closer but has become the team's finisher as well. He has a WAC-high six saves but also a team high four wins, having finished 15 games this year (no other WAC pitcher has finished more than 9 games). Of the 17 games Beardsley has pitched this year the team has won 14 of them as he has allowed just one earned run in 23.1 innings pitched, good for a 0.39 ERA and a .194 opposing batting average.
Double Your Outs, Double Your Pleasure
Sacramento State is second in the WAC and tied for 93rd in Div. I with 25 double plays turned this year. Eleven different players have been part of a defensive double play this season, including four pitchers. The team also ranks third in the WAC with a .969 season fielding percentage.
Big Bats Silenced
On March 28 the Hornets held New Mexico - one of the top offensive teams in NCAA Div. I - to just one run, becoming the first team this season to hold the Lobos to fewer than two runs in a game. The Lobos entered the game averaging 7.6 runs per game this season, the 24th best scoring average in Div. I. New Mexico also entered the game ninth in the nation in on-base percentage, 15th in walks, and 18th in batting average but was held to only eight base runners on Monday. Junior Tanner Olson, making his first career start as a Hornet, allowed only one run on five hits and no walks with three strikeouts in five innings.
Junior catcher Gunner Pollman leads the WAC with 15 runners caught stealing this year. Last year he threw out 27 base stealers, 10 more than any other conference catcher totaled. He has been named to the watch list for the Johnny Bench Award, an honor presented annually to the top catcher in NCAA Div. I baseball, for the second straight season.
The Hornets have a stacked non-conference schedule again in 2016. In its season-opening road trip the team played two NCAA Tournament teams from last year, including the No. 5 team in the country. The team's first home opponent, South Dakota State, won 33 games last season, while Arizona was also a 30-win team last year and Cal Poly was nationally ranked. New Mexico and Fresno State are both receiving votes in two national polls.
Grubbs Making Grabs
Sophomore center fielder Bronson Grubbs has been superb both in the field and at the plate this year. Among his 92 putouts this year are dozens of sensational catches. He also has an outfield assist and just one error after committing just one error all season last year. His bat has shined as well as he is second on the team hitting .308 this season with a .370 on-base percentage and 11 runs scored with four stolen bases.
Happy at Home
Due to weather and field conditions just one of Sacramento State's first 14 games of the season was played on their primary home ballpark, John Smith Field, prior to the 13-game homestand. The Hornets have had winning home records in four straight seasons and are now 57-23 at home over the last three years. The team has had at least 18 home wins in four straight seasons.
Sacramento State has five seniors on its 2016 roster but just one of them, outfielder Chris Lewis, has been with the program for his entire collegiate career. A former Freshman All-American, Lewis hit a solid .275 with five home runs and 32 RBIs last year and once again led the team with a brilliant WAC Tournament for the second consecutive year. He is currently eighth in program history with 109 career RBIs and is seventh with 39 career doubles.